EMS, Sheriff’s Office request budget increases
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
May 29, 2014 | 1088 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The major increases in the Bradley County budget for fiscal year 2014-15 will be to fund emergency services and law enforcement should the request of those departments go unaltered.

But for the most part, departments appear to be holding the line for a tight budget year.

Department heads forwarded their requests to County Mayor D. Gary Davis over the last few months, and the Commission and its finance committee have started the process of review before the full Commission takes a final vote on the funding.

The total general fund requests are a 2 percent increase over the current fiscal year — climbing $669,494 to a total of $33,723,927.

Of the 67 line items in the county’s general fund budget, 37 show no increase or slight decreases from the current year’s numbers.

Many of the requested increases involve updating or replacing computer technology or general maintenance of buildings.

The most significant decrease is seen in the budget for animal control, where the 2013-14 budget was for $180,000.

With the county’s new contract with SPCA, that amount has decreased $100,000.

There is also a $100,000 decrease in the 911 Center budget, but the documents do not show the reasons for bringing the funding amount down from the current $550,000.

The largest funding request comes from Emergency Medical Services, which is seeking a $291,636 increase to its current budget of $5 million.

County EMS Director Danny Lawson recently spoke to the finance committee and said the increased call activity around the area requires more personnel and equipment.

The major increases involve adding more part-time personnel, vehicles and uniforms.

EMS is requesting $69,000 to add the availability of a 24-hour crew on Saturdays and Sundays.

Uniforms and protective equipment will cost $200 for each of the 100 employees of the department for a total of $20,000 — a $13,000 increase over the current fiscal year.

Lawson said the uniforms are “much needed after four years of not having enough.”

A $160,000 increase is requested for replacement of two ambulances with new, re-chassied Chevrolet ambulances.

Lawson, whose report is one of the more detailed of those filed with the Commission, said the department will continue to buy refurbished or re-chassied vehicles or new, under-warranty equipment and demonstrator models “in order to hold our costs down as we have done in the past.”

Lawson also said in his report the department would be returning $4.1 million to the general fund this year.

The Justice Center is the second largest request for funding from the Commission.

It’s current budget totals $6.3 million and is now seeking a 2.16 percent increase to $6.45 million.

The big item on the request list is a $30,000 increase for maintenance and repair services to the building.

That would bring the total for that item to $81,293.

The requests show the need for the increase is “due to the building age and age of the equipment to maintain ... mulcher, laundry machines, A/C units, etc.”

It also seeks to restore $2,000 in funding for vehicle services, $1,000 for transportation, $1,000 for office supplies and $5,600 for uniforms that was cut from last year’s budget.

The request for law enforcement equipment including tasers, bulletproof vests, cuff and shackles is double last year’s total, bringing that column to $48,450.

There is also a $49,000 request for a car and a van.

The Sheriff’s Office is seeking a 1.9 percent increase over last year — a total of $135,476 from the current year bringing that request to $7.02 million.

The budget seeks the restoration of $1,700 for communication, $5,000 for dues and memberships, $714 for maintenance and repair, $5,000 for law enforcement equipment, $2,000 for office supplies, $1,700 for other supplies and materials.

A request for $115,000 to purchase vehicles is an increase of $70,000.

Davis said Tuesday he plans on presenting his proposed budget at the next County Commission meeting on Monday.

That meeting will be held in the Commission meeting room at the Courthouse, beginning at 7 p.m.